Catholic tricks for a heavenly treat: A guide to navigating Halloween
Playful and fun costumes vs. dark and demonic ones
When selecting a costume, animals, saints and superheroes are all viable options. Steer clear of costumes that depict evil spirits and demons because you don’t want to emulate and glorify them.
Trick or treating vs. partaking in mischievous activities
Ringing the doorbell for candy is much different than ringing a doorbell and running away for the fun of it. Trick or treating actually has Catholic origins. In Europe a tradition developed of baking “soul cakes” in honor of those who had died. These cakes were baked on All Hallows’ Eve (Oct.31) and children would go door to door on All Saints Day and All Souls Day asking for the cakes in exchange for praying for deceased loved ones.
Halloween-themed games vs. playing with Ouija boards and tarot cards
No matter the age group, there are fun, Halloween-themed games for everyone. Some examples are a scavenger hunt, Feed the Monster Toss and Truth or Scare. Games involving Ouija boards or tarot cards are sinful because the Church considers these activities to be a form of divination. Divination is seeking information from occult forces. It is recommended that persons go to confession if they have participated in these activities.
Non-spooky decorations vs. scary and occult themed ones
Pumpkins, spiders and black cats, oh my! These are some examples of lively decorations that won’t spook the neighbors or invite unwanted supernatural houseguests. Skulls are also appropriate decorations because they are considered a Catholic symbol of death and are oftentimes depicted in artwork featuring saints.
Praying in the cemetery vs. playing in the cemetery
Did you know praying in a cemetery for the departed on All Soul’s Day grants a plenary indulgence, applicable only to the souls in purgatory? It is also granted if a person visits and prays in a cemetery any time between Nov.1-8. Instead of ghost hunting or playing in a cemetery, pull out a rosary and pray instead.
—Originally published in the Fall 2021 issue of Vermont Catholic magazine.